Deep Dive Explores the Human Dimension of Biodiversity

Why is the human dimension of biodiversity a key to communicating conservation issues? The Commission organized a recent Deep Dive meeting to create a framework for future activities.

As IUCN’s lead for Aichi Target 1 of CBD, the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) held a “Deep Dive Thought Leaders” meeting November 22 and 23, 2013, in Rolle, Switzerland. The theme was“Facilitating IUCN’s Support to the Human Dimensions Agenda of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Twenty-five experts from IUCN and its Commissions, as well as from the social science field at large, discussed how the IUCN can practically and substantively engage to further the human and social dimensions of biodiversity conservation. The Deep Dive event is part of CEC’s concerted efforts to assist the CBD in achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Target 1:

“By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.”

The Deep Dive series dates back to 2006, when the first meeting of its kind was hosted by CEC and held at IUCN under the theme of ‘Exploring Deep Change Processes.’ Born out of the need to more clearly define the steps needed to bring into fruition conformity with sustainability values, these meetings aim to draw on the expertise of the CEC and professionals in other relevant fields. The hope is that the CEC Deep Dive series will grow into an interactive platform for facilitating innovative brainstorming sessions amongst global conservation leaders.

This most recent Deep Dive meeting saw presentations by key authors Stanley Asah and Anantha Duraiappah made to an audience that included Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, and David Cooper, Principal Officer of Science, Assessment and Monitoring at the CBD, as well as IUCN Commission Chairs.

CEC member Gillian Martin Mehers, founder of Bright Green Learning, facilitated the discussion, which included group deliberations about how to better communicate human and social dimensions of biodiversity conservation. Members discussed how these aspects could be integrated into IUCN’s communication activities, such as those supporting the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity.

The outcomes of the meeting include a log frame for the work identified and a concept for a second, broader CEC Deep Dive meeting on the Human Dimensions of Biodiversity, which CEC plans to host in 2014. The meeting ended on a high note with participants looking forward to tangible outcomes from future meetings.

The point of departure was the background paper Managing Biodiversity is About People: The Role of Social Sciences in Achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets. The authors of the paper state:

Managing biodiversity is about people. It is about the ways in which they claim, use, and value natural resources. How people claim, use, and value those natural resources is manifested in their individual statements and value articulations, in the institutions they create, and in their behaviour as individuals, collectives and organisations under the political ecology of power and power relations. This interplay between ecological systems and human behaviours, values, and institutions has created a deeply complex ‘socio-ecological reality’ that characterises our current situation.

The paper was prepared by Anantha Duraiappah and Stanley Asah et al. for the Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity, 27—31 May 2013 in Trondheim, Norway. 

For further information about the participants, please download their biographies »

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